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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Stop Protest, Confiscate Coffin

APPolice officers removing a mock coffin protesters had filled with letters to the mayor complaining of housing fraud.
Police broke up a protest by defrauded apartment buyers in central Moscow on Wednesday morning as the demonstrators tried to deliver their complaints to Mayor Yury Luhzkov in a mock coffin.

The several dozen protesters had gathered at Teatralnaya Ploshchad and were stopped by police as they tried to carry the coffin full of complaints to City Hall on Tverskaya Ulitsa, national media reported.

No one was detained, but police confiscated the funeral accessories -- along with the complaints -- saying they violated the "technical security" of the demonstration, Ekho Moskvy cited a policeman as saying.

The protesters were among the estimated 200,000 people nationwide who paid construction companies for homes that were never built or that were sold to multiple buyers.

The coffin was to signify that they had buried their hopes that Luzhkov could help them resolve their problems.

"The limit of our trust in Luzhkov has been exhausted," protester Yevgeny Karandyshev said, reported.

Many protests have broken out in Moscow and the surrounding region since summer 2005, when news of the fraud surfaced. Protesters also set up a camp near the White House on May 19, but OMON riot police tore it down.

President Vladimir Putin last month said the situation with defrauded homebuyers was a problem Luzhkov must resolve before he leaves office.